Police made a breakthrough on Monday afternoon into their investigation of the rape and murder of Khayelitsha teenager Sinoxolo Mafevuka.
“Two suspects aged 21 and 26 were arrested and are expected to appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday facing charges of murder and rape,” said police spokeswoman, Constable Noloyiso Rwexana.
Mafevuka’s naked body was discovered with her head stuffed into a public toilet bowl about 100m from her home on Wednesday, March 2. She had last been seen going to use the toilet in Blowey Section, as there are no toilets in her home in the SST section in Town Two, Khayelitsha. It is also believed that her clothing had been found stashed in the toilet bowl.
Asakhe Stenge, Mafevuka’s neighbour, said Mafevuka, 19, was a kind person. “She didn’t deserve to be murdered, she
didn’t deserve all of this.”
She added that Mafevuka’s family was still in shock and that her mother had not spoken since she heard the news of her daughter’s death.
“We are very worried about her mother, she didn’t take the news well. Everything is so surreal,” she said.
Sinoxolo’s family last week expressed outrage at the slow pace of the investigation into her rape and murder.
In the same week, the body of Franziska Blöchliger, 16, was found raped and strangled hours after she had been reported missing.
Days later, three suspects had been arrested in connection with her death, while the Mafevuka family had yet to make statements to the police.
Comparisons between the police’s treatment of the murders followed, as people closely followed the developments in the two cases.
Mafevuka’s family said that the last time they saw the police was on the morning they had identified the body.
Dan Mtana, Mafevuka’s cousin, said at the time: “We saw the Tokai murder on television, but it made us realise that no one cares about us, because we are black.
When the Tokai murder occurred police focused all their energy on it. What about my sister? We are angry.”
During an impromptu briefing on the state of the investigation into Mafevuka’s death, Deputy Minister of Police Maggie Sotyu lashed out at the police’s handling of the murder, saying it “perpetuated racism” in the Western Cape.
The suspects’ arrest on Monday came 24 hours after Khayelitsha cluster commander Major-General Johan Brand promised Mafevuka’s mourning mother Nowethu Mafevuka that the police would make a breakthrough within three days. Brand made the announcement during a memorial service for Sinoxolo on Sunday.
The suspects were known in the area, according to community leader Mzukisi Ngethu. “A lot of residents know there have been people arrested. This is a relief to all of us. The police have acted very fast in the last couple of days. We hope that this will bring closure to the family,” said Ngethu.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said Brand had informed them of the arrests, which came as a relief to the community.
“We still maintain that Sinoxolo’s case deserved the same dedication as that of Franziska.
“We want to congratulate the South African Police Service for the hard work. We might write to the prosecution and ask them to oppose bail,” he said.
He said KDF members would be in court to offer their support to the Mafevuka family.
The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) has welcomed the arrests and said it would mobilise residents to attend the court case.
SJC’s Chumile Sali said: “We will also be asking residents to sign a petition, and opposing bail.”
Mafevuka’s funeral will be held in Centane in the Eastern Cape on Saturday.[Source: Cape Argus and Cape Times]